The Goliath groupers, apparently, love the old Flagler Memorial Bridge.
While the new four-lane bridge is inching toward completion (not nearly quickly enough, we note in a grumbling sort of tone), work crews render the old concrete span into pieces. Barges haul the slabs out to a 35-foot depth and dump them into the Atlantic, forming an artificial reef. The first section is in place, and the fish are already starting to find it.
If someone hasn’t already named it Bridge Reef, they should.
Artificial reefs like this provide fresh habitats for marine life. The Sun-Sentinel reports that by the end of the bridge demolition, more than 22,000 tons of material will create near-shore reef environments from Jupiter to Boca Raton. These structures create more habitats for young fish to grow and mature before they head out into deeper waters.
The 30-foot lengths are stacked atop one another, which creates the kinds of nooks and crannies fish love. The rough surfaces encourage the buildup of algae, sea fans, sponges and coral. Project managers expect to see not only schools of bait fish, but snapper, angelfish, and nurse sharks.
What a nice encore for the 75-year-old bridge. Bravo!